Farm Profile: Harsh Farm

FARM PROFILE:
HARSH FARM
Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Nestled in the crook of a residential cul-de-sac, Harsh Farm is an example of the positive triumphing over imperfect situations. Sloping into woods, the lot encompasses wetlands, shade, and neighbors close by. It is the home of Levi Harshman, who is part farmer, part inventor, part mechanic, and all humanitarian. He is always on the lookout for novel ways to increase production while extending a helping hand to others – and having fun in the process.

Known at Kitsap Fresh for it’s micro-greens, tiny nutrition powerhouses with strong flavor profiles, Harsh Farm is a happening place. Lined with raised beds, almost every corner of this residential lot encourages flowers, multiple hot peppers, and winter squash to reach for the sunlight. A mad scientist’s lab of drip and electrical systems, the climate-controlled grow room incubates micro-greens in a garage corner. Among other inventions, Levi has created a refrigerated trailer, a massive compost system transforming old to new soil, and the beginnings of a greenhouse in the backyard.

Multiple setbacks, including family and legal issues, reinforced Levi’s desire to give back to his community. Taking stock of life while recovering from a motorcycle accident, he envisioned the picture of his farm as a place for others to find a second chance, and he could continue teaching healthy nutrition. Unencumbered by large debt, the farm replaces Levi’s DJ salary, curtailed by the pandemic. He has proven that farming is possible under almost any circumstance,and I eagerly await further experiments from Harsh Farm.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Sagging Fence Farm

FARM PROFILE:
SAGGING FENCE FARM
Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

The small herd of recently weaned kids greeted me, bleating and begging for food as I walked Sagging Fence Goat Farm. Curiosity finally overcame their parents’ reticence, allowing a slow approach for the peanuts I offered in my outstretched hand. An assortment of multi-hued heirloom chickens ran to investigate as well. Kitsap Fresh customers don’t get to benefit from Farmer Bob Fisher’s eggs, however, as they are designated for the Port Orchard Farmers Market. Many of us have participated in the Saturday morning bidding war, hoping to secure one of the few dozen eggs available each week. Commodities are precious in this new world of COVID-19!

In addition to dairy goats providing healthy, easily digestible milk, Bob also offers us his delicious raw goat milk semi-hard Tomme cheese. It’s nutty, salty and smooth texture pairs well with sourdough bread or a good apple. Goat milk’s short and medium-chain fatty acids and unique protein molecules make it far easier to digest than cow milk, especially for the lactose intolerant. These health benefits are retained in the cheese making process.

The charming Sagging Fence Nubian goats are both sweet tempered and entertaining! More people worldwide rely on goat milk and cheese than dairy products from any other species. Dairy goats produce 20 percent less methane than dairy cows, and they require less land, feed, and water per gallon of milk produced. If you haven’t tried Sagging Fence’s Tomme cheese, we suggest you give it a go – you won’t be disappointed!

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Pheasant Fields

FARM PROFILE:
PHEASANT FIELDS FARM

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Pheasant Fields has seen a slow decline in the population of pheasants roaming its acres since Farmer Nikki Johanson’s parents purchased the 1885 homestead and began ranching in 1949. A child of the Depression, Nikki’s father taught his daughters the importance of self-sustainability. Unlike her dad, however, Nikki never had to experience hunger and since taking ownership of the property in 1979, she has worked tirelessly to support sustainable growing practices, local food banks, and other farmers.

Pheasant Fields has also embraced agritourism, with everything from birthday parties and school tours, to corn mazes and a pumpkin patch during the Halloween season. In tandem with these activities, is Nikki’s primary mission of growing healthy food. Her strong belief in feeding the hungry has encouraged her involvement with a neighboring farm providing fresh produce for Fishline, the Poulsbo Food Bank.

Resilience and experience have enabled Nikki’s survival of nature’s whims, even while having to use a cane due to recent back trouble. Her flocks have had several losses this year, mostly due to predators, but even COVID-19 has not prevented the planting of this year’s corn maze. Nikki’s greater concern is that the number of farmers will continue to decline, as have the pheasants that gave this bountiful farm its name.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.

Farm Profile: Blackjack Valley Farm

FARM PROFILE:
BLACKJACK VALLEY FARM

Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Perched on the rim of the lush green valley for which it is named, Blackjack Valley’s farmland slopes down to the valley floor where the creek, now dammed by otters, has created a seasonal pond. Small herds of Black Angus and dairy cattle dot the fields. Another 20 acre parcel is home to Farmer Karen Olsen’s pig and goat herds, a disease prevention strategy to keep the cows as healthy as possible. Every precaution is made to maintain the safety and cleanliness of Blackjack’s raw milk dairy.

Karen’s father brought home the family’s first cow when she was 5 1⁄2, sparking a love of farming. Within a few years she was hired to take over the milking for an injured neighbor, receiving the milk in return to do with as she pleased. She would pedal her bike home from milking, two full buckets hanging from her handle bars, to process it in her mother’s farm kitchen. How the dairy industry has changed over the years!

As we entered life with COVID-19, Karen was in a unique position to help her loyal customers continue to feed their families, many of them with up to 10 children. She created “Pandemic Packs” of specially priced, unusual meat cuts, and continued to provide them with raw milk. She is passionate about feeding the hungry, her motto being “Save. Spend. Share.” In that vein, Karen also took on the task of running our sister market, Fresh Food Revolution, out of her barn. After a lifetime of farming the thought of retiring with her husband “sounds boring,” she says. Her greatest regret is that there are no family members clamoring to take over her business and maintain this beautiful piece of fertile valley land.

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming. Photo taken by Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun

Article: The Kitsap Fresh Warehouse

The Kitsap Fresh Warehouse
Guest Writer: Sally Zalac

Picture a bowl full of salad greens, crumbly cheese, smoked nuts, crunchy radishes, tender sprouts, napped in a creamy handmade dressing, with a slice of fresh bread slathered in churned butter on the side. You might ask, how did this healthy meal arrive on your dinner table? This week we are pleased to bring you the first in a series of articles aimed at keeping you in the know about your online farmer’s market. We begin at the hub, the Kitsap Fresh warehouse.

Following the trail of just one ingredient from our bowl, we find the salad greens growing on a local farm in Kitsap County. After washing the freshly harvested greens, the farmer then bags and tags them, with your personal I.D. labels provided by the website. Next, the greens are delivered to our warehouse, along with the rest of this week’s harvest for packaging into your curbside pickup order.

Kitsap Fresh provides all licensing and permits, website management, marketing, and food distribution, allowing farmers and producers of every size to do what they do best – grow, harvest and process delicious food. Interacting with 200-300 weekly customers, while practicing safe distancing standards, is also handled by our warehouse staff. In addition, we offer bags of salad greens from multiple growers, as well as a plethora of other assorted food options. Imagine how diverse that bowl of salad will become as the growing season progresses!

Sally Zalac is a valued customer and volunteer for Kitsap Fresh. She has a passion for local farms, organic food and regenerative farming.